Luca Catani, now aged 21 and from near Bern, started an apprenticeship as a chef in a big seminar hotel-restaurant.
“The problems started after about half a year. One of the chefs was not so friendly to me. He bullied me a lot,” Catani told swissinfo.ch. The tradition is to be hard on first year chef apprentices, he explained, but this was too much, even to someone as self-confident as Catani. In addition, Catani worked long hours and was treated more like a staff member than a trainee. Catani persevered but when the business changed hands, he dissolved his contract in his second year of apprenticeship and went to work for a former colleague, also in the catering industry. He finished his apprenticeship there.
“Afterwards I said to myself it was good basic training and I learned a lot and to work hard but I don’t want to cook anymore.” He then did his Professional Matura (secondary school certificate), for which he had done a preparatory course during his apprenticeship. “This was my way out.” He is now doing his obligatory military service, and has done his training as a head chef, aiming to go back into the profession. He will also attend a College of Higher Education to train in a second sector.
He says he heft relieved that he could terminate his first apprenticeship and start afresh at a new company. It was a good decision. “In the end I made the best of it and I am happy now.” He emphasises though that it is important to finish your training; even in catering it can open many doors.